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Should I spend two days in in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo?
June 24, 2011 9:50 PM   Subscribe

Should I spend two days in in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo?

So I have the opportunity to hang out in one of the above-named cities for just two full days. I've never been to any of them. Where would you go if you only had two days? Which city is best and most enjoyable for a two-day trip involving sightseeing and food? What city would one get the most out of in two days? Price point isn't really a worry as I could pay for two full days in any of these places. The days in question are a Monday and a Tuesday, so not sure if nightlife would be an option.
posted by emily37 to Travel & Transportation (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tokyo. The richest culturally of the 4 cities mentioned and tourism is down in Japan (because of the lingering fears from the nuclear disaster) so you will find bargains
posted by Bwithh at 9:59 PM on June 24, 2011


I should mention that this would be en route to southern Thailand, so I will get to see other parts of Thailand.
posted by emily37 at 10:03 PM on June 24, 2011


Singapore...for the food.
posted by jchaw at 10:06 PM on June 24, 2011


Should I spend two days in in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo?

It depends. Taking into consideration what you state in your question and my own opinion, I would say: (4) Bangkok, (3) Singapore, (2) Hong Kong, (1) Tokyo. Keep in mind that Tokyo is probably still feeling the effects of the earthquake, even if it's just the psychology of the people. If that interests you or does not bother you, it might be your best choice for the short time duration.

Where would you go if you only had two days?

Hong Kong or Tokyo. I feel like you need more time to really sink your teeth into a city like Bangkok. I don't think it shows itself very well for short visits. Singapore is more similar to the other two, but lacks the culture.

Which city is best and most enjoyable for a two-day trip involving sightseeing and food?

I would say Hong Kong for the sightseeing and Tokyo for the food.

What city would one get the most out of in two days?

Same as above.
posted by ageispolis at 10:06 PM on June 24, 2011


Hong Kong
posted by ryanbryan at 10:07 PM on June 24, 2011


I should mention that this would be en route to southern Thailand, so I will get to see other parts of Thailand.

Well then if you have the opportunity to see a bit of Thailand, then you might as well make the most of your time and get a sense of some place different. Singapore is more like Thailand than Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Again, if I were you in this situation, I would choose Tokyo because it would be a unique time to be there. It's always more fascinating to travel somewhere where the status quo of the place has been interrupted. And by spending your currency you are helping the economy out in a little way.
posted by ageispolis at 10:11 PM on June 24, 2011


If you go to Hong Kong, then I'd suggest taking a side trip to Macau. It's about an 1.5 hour ride via ferry. I was there in 2005 and thought it a unique Asian city both because of it's Portuguese influence and casinos. Oh yeah, and the food's good too.
posted by FJT at 10:14 PM on June 24, 2011


Tokyo is quite normal, with regards to the quake. But 2 days is no where enough time to see all, but will get you addicted, and next time you'll just come here :)
posted by lundman at 10:15 PM on June 24, 2011


If you've never been to any of these places and you're already going to be visiting Thailand no matter what, I'd take Bangkok off the list, since you'll already get to experience the Thai countryside.

Food is a toss-up, these cities are all world-class food destinations for food. I think Singapore is the least of these in terms of sight seeing. Hong Kong and Tokyo both have amazing history, amazing culture, great nightlife. I find Hong Kong to be kind of unbearable during the summer, but that doesn't bother everyone as much as me, and I've never been to Tokyo during the summer so it might be a toss-up.

Two days is such a short time it's almost pointless to say which city has more to do, you'll barely scratch the surface of anywhere you go. So, I'd just pick with whatever is most convenient, sounds superficially most appealing and not look back, you can't make a wrong decision here.
posted by skewed at 10:22 PM on June 24, 2011


You could spend two full days inside the Maxwell Food Centre in Singapore and only sample a fraction of the amazing foods there. There are about 100 different stalls.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 10:38 PM on June 24, 2011


Singapore! Because it is fun, and you can see a lot in two days, maybe even all the "important" parts. I didn't find it very much like Bangkok at all! The city is much more orderly, the level of government involvement in everything is astounding, and it is so interestingly multi-cultural. Like Bangkok (and Tokyo) the food is delicious, and you can see all the main touristy things in a quick couple days.

Tokyo and Bangkok both demand more than two days, and you'll leave feeling like there is so much you didn't get to. They are also big and spread out, so you lose a lot of time in transit - just coming from Narita Airport to Tokyo takes 90 minutes or more. Do you have that time to spare?? I don't know anything about Hong Kong.
posted by whatzit at 11:52 PM on June 24, 2011


I've never been to Bangkok, but I've been to the other 3:

Hong Kong: The Chinese food here is probably different from non-China Chinese food - many things you may not recognize, let alone what manner of flora/fauna you are eating, if this is your first time in Asia. Shopping here is probably cheaper than the following places. Try to bargain if with a street vendor. As an English speaker, you should be ok. City is smelly if you're sensitive to that kinda thing. If I were to come back here for 2 days, I'd probably go up Victoria Peak (hope it's not a cloudy day) to get a view of the city below, and get dim sum. And shopping, maybe take a ferry to an island.

Tokyo: Very urban, gray buildings everywhere with their signs, things are a lot more expensive. You won't find exotic sushi rolls here: Just rice + 1 type of fish/etc. Harder as an English speaker to get around. Takes a couple hours from Narita to Tokyo proper. Train everywhere pretty much. If I were to come back here, eat sushi, okonomiyaki, visit Yokohama Ramen Museum again, Ghibli Museum..

Singapore: Very clean, I recommend the Night Safari, very easy to get around with English here, and I'd also visit the Tiger Balm Gardens, but I just like the weirdness of it. And the big Merlion statue. Because there probably isn't any other large Merlion statue in the world.
posted by Seboshin at 1:24 AM on June 25, 2011


Hong Kong.

Singapore can be boring and 2 days not enough for Tokyo.
posted by gomichild at 1:38 AM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


All those places but HK I felt I had to live in to really appreciate them. So I'd pick HK if I only had two days. (Never been to Singapore though)

The first day in Hong Kong I'd get some breakfast and then ride all over the city on the top of one of the "ding-dings" (the cable cars).

I like to hike so I hiked to a lot of peaks around Hong Kong. Victoria Peak is the highest on the actual island proper and has a nice view (when the pollution is blown away).

Tai Mo Shan is the real highest peak though. You get to hike off of concrete trails too which is a nice change from a lot of the parks there. It had the most amazing views out of everywhere I went around HK. I'd bring a headlamp so you can get down after watching a sunset up there.
(To get there take the MTR to Tsuen Wan MTR Station. When you get out and you're going towards the exit turn LEFT before going across the footbridge into the mall area. Go up all the stairs and there is the Route Twisk 51 bus stop.
I'm just telling you incase you end up wanting to do it because I had a bitch of a time finding this stop and all of the MTR employees kept telling me it was with all the other large groupings of bus stops.)


I had a good time just riding the very cheap, awesome and efficient MTR to random stops that I knew nothing about and getting out then exploring the area, too.

Macau is pretty cool. I'd probably spend 1 day in HK and then one in Macau. It's a very stimulating place.
posted by zephyr_words at 4:43 AM on June 25, 2011


I've visited all four cities, all but Singapore I've been to several times. My impressions are similar to those of ageispolis and skewed.

I agree that since you're going to spend time in other parts of Thailand, you can drop Bangkok. There is lots that's unique about it in Thailand, but also lots that you'll see elsewhere.

I was underwhelmed by Singapore, although it's a nice enough place. It feels like a huge shopping mall and didn't thrill me in the way the other three cities did.

So, you're left with Tokyo and Hong Kong for two days of sightseeing and food. Although Hong Kong has some fantastic restaurants, Tokyo probably has the edge on food in that almost every neighbourhood has somewhere wonderful to eat. Sightseeing is fairly even, although HK is more compact.

I don't really understand the concept of avoiding somewhere because you won't be able to 'see it all' in the time available. You see what you can and enjoy it. Anyway, I don't know of anywhere that doesn't have hidden corners that you'll uncover after a week or a month or a year...
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:51 AM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo… I've never been to any of them.

Does "I've never been to any of them" mean you've never been to those particular cities, or you've never stepped foot in asia? Because those are two very different questions.

If you've never been anywhere in that corner of the globe, I would suggest Hong Kong or Bangkok.
If you've been to asia, but not those particular cities, I would suggest Hong Kong or Tokyo.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:44 AM on June 25, 2011


I'm going to cast my vote for Singapore on this one.

Here's why:
- With two full days, you likely can "see it all," and that seems to be a major sticking point.

Plus the food. If food is anywhere near a top priority, you can't overlook Singapore in this regard. You'll be overwhelmed with choice.

And there's plenty of sightseeing to be done in Singapore in two days. I would recommend taking an organized walking tour or two to get the most out of it.

At the end of your two full days, you can probably say that you did most of what there is to be done. And you'll have a pretty nice time to boot.
posted by texano at 9:20 AM on June 25, 2011


I've been to all four of these cities. For a two day trip, I'd go to Hong Kong or Singapore. They're comparatively more compact, so you'll spend less of your limited time just getting around. Tokyo is an amazing city, but I don't think two days is an adequate amount of time to get much out of it. Bangkok I would give a pass for now if you're going to be spending time elsewhere in Thailand. At least when I was there a few years ago, Bangkok was also full of people trying to scam tourists in a way the other three were not. Once you've figured out what's going on, it's not that difficult to avoid the various scams, but with only two days you could waste a significant part of your trip on one bad tuk-tuk or taxi driver.
posted by m-bandy at 9:40 AM on June 25, 2011


Hong Kong is awesome. I have never been to Tokyo outside of the airport but I have heard it can be confusing if you don't have a guide. I just found Hong Kong to be such an interesting clash of Chinese / English / Rich / Poor. I highly recommend it.
posted by jasondigitized at 10:05 AM on June 25, 2011


Thanks for the feedback everyone! For those of you who have asked about Asia travels I have been all over mainland China and also South Korea, but nothing else.
posted by emily37 at 10:19 AM on June 25, 2011


I have only been to Hong Kong on your list, so I can't compare the cities, but I had a fantastic time in Hong Kong both times I visited and would go back in a second. An easy city to navigate and a wide variety of things you can do and see in a short time.
posted by JenMarie at 1:16 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Singapore.

Not just because I live here, but because it's small and the transport network's efficient enough so that you can pack in enough sightseeing without wasting time on traveling from one location to another, or getting hopelessly lost due to language issues.

You'll find amazing food in any of those four cities.
posted by hellopanda at 9:52 PM on June 25, 2011


I've been to all four frequently on short and long trips, and taking in to account you've been in mainland China and South Korea I'd vouch for Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Hong Kong has the best of everything- clash of cultures (China with British influence), diversity of food, high life with low life, compact excellent local transportation system, and just heaps to visit. There's no other city like it. On Hong Kong Island, you can do a lovely walk from Central MTR and wander around LKF/Soho/Mid Level Escalators, then onward through the HK Zoo and to the peak and puzzle over the vast array of high rises clustered together in such a compact area. On Kowloon, you can meander around the promenade and get lost in the streets of Mong Kong and Sham Shui Po (NOT a standard tourist destination but it's very local... but maybe not so interesting since you've been around mainland China). Of course, taking the Star Ferry for barely 2.5hkd. For food, there's dim sum and street food everywhere to sample.

The next on the list would be Tokyo as it's the same as above, but to put in a general category, Seoul reminds one a lot of Tokyo, minus the crazy subcultures. Harajuku to see the sub-culture and wander onto Meiji Jingu Shrine for a sharp contrast. Then just wandering the streets of Shibuya, Shinjuku. I was never a person who understood sitting around and people watching, but in Tokyo this is THE place.

Bangkok is interesting if you really want to get down and dirty in an Asian country. People say it's not walkable but besides the heat it was fine. Just wandering around the streets through Chinatown up to the Grand Palace (was getting lied to the entire time trying to find the entrance about it being closed cause it's a local holiday, buddhist's only day, thai people only today blahblah, just gotta be ready for it/Green Buddha, then taking one of the boats down the Chao Praya. Another neat thing is if you could take a boat out to see a floating market; never did that myself.

I would really put Singapore at the bottom heap. Sure it's nice and everything's perfect, but it's a bit sterile.
posted by peachtree at 1:55 AM on June 26, 2011


I've been to HK and live in Japan (near Tokyo) and I'd go with HK. Tokyo is too big to get a feel for in two days, though I've spent a couple weekends in Hong Kong and thoroughly enjoyed it. You won't be able to see everything, but you will get to see enough to find out if you'd like to go back. You'll have enough time to check out Victoria Peak, maybe the Temple Street Night Market, take the Star Ferry across the harbor, and have some amazing food.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:28 PM on June 26, 2011


Are the two days true full days? Or is this arrive one morning and leave the next afternoon? I think Tokyo is far enough away from Narita airport, that with all the little delays that come with entering/leaving a country, that Tokyo would be hard if you have very limited time. If you're going to other parts of Thailand, I'd say you could leave Bangkok out. My personal preference would be for Hong Kong, as it seemed a lot more exotic to me as a foreigner. If exotic isn't what you're after, then Singapore is pretty easy to see.
posted by Metro Gnome at 10:24 PM on June 26, 2011


I live in Singapore and visited Bangkok, Tokyo and Hong Kong. I'd say there's three cities in your list you could spend your time better in than Singapore.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:05 AM on June 28, 2011


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